Designer pitches are history
In completing a swift and comprehensive a 3-0 whitewash victory over South Africa, Team India keeps rolling on like a juggernaut in the Test match arena. Its home record in the seven years since 2013 in a victory streak of 11 series — 26 wins in 32 Tests, five draws, one defeat (at the hands of Australia in Pune) — brings it close enough to invincibility. This record was not built by playing only on designer pitches that would let a spinning ball hiss like a cobra. The team doesn’t need the crutch of “Bunsen Burners” or paddy fields of pitches.
Another remarkable feature has been the Assembly of an array of fast bowlers who played an equally impressive role in sharing wickets with the spinners. An Indian fast bowler was never a rarity, beginning with Mohammad Nissar in India’s first Test match in 1932. Having a whole battalion is an unprecedented and very new. The reinvention of in-form “white ball” striker Rohit Sharma as a Test opener has helped the team tick along at a merry pace — no more endless dawdling with batsmen sitting on the splice in Tests. Rohit snapped up the opportunity with alacrity. He has had company in the prolific Mayank Agarwal and then that hungry run maker in all formats — skipper Virat Kohli.
An aberration in the overall record in the seven years has been the inability to perform creditably in England where swinging and seaming conditions pose a technical test even the combined might of Indian batting has not been able to pass. Another blemish remains in Team India’s overall Test record — it is yet to win a Test series in South Africa. Be that as it may, the scenario is the sky is the limit. That is how formidably Kohli’s Test team has built itself up after the retirement of greats like Sachin Tendulkar.